If you’re like many people facing charges of domestic battery in Illinois, you’re not sure what happens next – or what the potential consequences of a conviction might be. This guide explains.
Domestic Battery in Illinois: The Basics
Domestic battery is a crime in Illinois. Under Illinois law, it’s described this way:
(a) A person commits domestic battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means:
(1) causes bodily harm to any family or household member;
(2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.
It’s generally a Class A misdemeanor, which means you can go to jail for up to a year if a court convicts you. You may also be ordered to pay fines of up to $2,500.
In some cases, however, domestic battery in Illinois is a felony. If you have a previous domestic battery conviction, or if you’ve met a circumstance outlined in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, you’re looking at up to 3 years in prison and fines of up to $2,500.
Related: Can I get a job with a domestic violence conviction?
Domestic Battery in Illinois: FAQ
Check out these frequently asked questions about domestic battery in Illinois. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please call our office at 847-920-4540 now. We’ll be happy to discuss your case with you.
What is the Penalty for Domestic Battery in Illinois?
Domestic battery in Illinois can be a misdemeanor or a felony. If you’re convicted of this crime as a misdemeanor, you could spend up to a year in jail and pay up to $2,500 in fines. If you’re convicted of this crime as a Class 4 felony, you could spend up to 3 years in prison and pay fines of up to $25,000. If you’re convicted of aggravated domestic battery, it’s a Class 2 felony and you could spend up to 7 years in prison. With a prior aggravated domestic battery conviction, your sentence could be as long as 14 years in prison.
What is Aggravated Domestic Battery in Illinois?
Aggravated domestic battery is a little different from domestic battery. The law says that you’ve committed aggravated domestic battery if you, while committing a domestic battery offense, strangle another person. (Under the law, strangle means “intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of an individual by applying pressure on the throat or neck of that individual or by blocking the nose or mouth of that individual.”
Can Domestic Battery Be Expunged in Illinois?
Domestic battery can never be expunged from your record in Illinois. The only way you can get it off your record is to successfully petition the governor for a pardon – and those are extremely rare.
Is Domestic Battery the Same Thing as Domestic Violence?
Domestic battery is the state of Illinois’ legal term for domestic violence.
Related: What does it mean to be charged with domestic battery?
Is Aggravated Domestic Battery a Felony in Illinois?
Aggravated domestic battery is a felony in Illinois. Generally, it’s a Class 2 felony – and that carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison. (You can be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison if you have a prior aggravated domestic battery conviction, though.)
Related: What happens with a second domestic battery charge in Illinois?
How Long Does Domestic Battery Stay on Your Criminal Record in Illinois?
A domestic battery conviction stays on your criminal record forever in the state of Illinois. However, if you’re only arrested for domestic battery and never charged, or if you are charged and later found not guilty, or if your case was dismissed, you can clear the arrest from your record.
What Usually Happens in a Domestic Battery Case in Illinois?
Usually, the police take you to jail and put your information (such as fingerprints and your “mug shot”) into the criminal records system. You may be able to pay money to get out of jail.
Then, whether or not you were let out of jail or were kept in jail, you will be formally charged with the crime of domestic battery in court. You will have the opportunity to tell the judge whether you’re guilty, not guilty, or plead “no contest” to the charges.
Your attorney may be able to talk to the prosecutor and negotiate. In some cases, lawyers are able to secure a plea bargain; that’s a deal in which you plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a lesser sentence. And in a very small number of cases, attorneys are able to get the prosecution to drop the charges entirely.
If your case isn’t dropped and your attorney doesn’t negotiate a plea bargain, you’ll go to court. You may or may not have a jury trial. If you have a jury, jurors will hear the evidence against you and your defense, and eventually, the jury will decide whether or not you’re guilty. If you don’t have a jury, the judge will decide whether or not you’re guilty.
If you are found guilty of domestic battery, the judge will sentence you. Then, you’ll be taken into custody (or kept in custody if you were already in jail). You’ll then serve your sentence.
Related: How long do you go to jail for domestic violence in Illinois?
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Domestic Battery in Illinois?
If you’ve been accused of domestic battery, you have the right to talk to an attorney and get legal advice. You can call our office at 847-920-4540 right now for a free consultation. If it’s easier, you can fill out the contact form below and we’ll get back to you.
You don’t want to gamble with your future or your freedom, so get in touch with an Illinois domestic battery defense attorney now.
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